For Readers & Writers

from Susan Dennard

July 4, 2014
Happy FOURTH OF JULY, AMERICAN FRIENDS! Funnily enough, I will be spending all of today working while my most-definitely-not-American husband will be off doing fun holiday things.

In totally separate news, a fellow author and friend of mine, Leah Clifford, has had a surprising health blow. She can't work because of it, and to help support herself during this awful time, she's offering critique services. The prices are incredibly reasonable.
Finally, we are down to the LAST DAYS in the #YARunsA5K auctions! (I'm sure you guys are thoroughly sick of hearing about it by now. ;)) Some of our New Leaf Literary agency critiques are still really low in the bidding amounts, and so is the 10-minute phone call with Joanna Volpe. So hurry in to get in those final bids!

For the Misfits:
Giveaways + SS&D Sale + Anastasia! 
As per usual, I have another Twitter giveaway running until 12 PM ET for a signed ARC of Strange & Ever AfterJust retweet this tweet to win! We're down to the last few weeks before the trilogy ends... *tear*

ALSO, to say thank you to my wonderful Misfits, I'm doing a giveaway that is ONLY for you guys! All you have to do is fill out this form to be entered to win! The giveaway is international, and I'll pick a winner next Friday!

Lastly in SS&D news, the e-version for Something Strange & Deadly is ON SALE for $1.99! You can buy it from all the major e-vendors:
bam bn
kobo  ibooks

Now, for those of you who have followed me for a while, then you've heard me declare my undying passion for the movie Anastasia. And you've ALSO (probably) heard me talk about how much I adore Dimitri and how Daniel Sheridan's character in the SS&D series is TOTALLY based on him.

Well, when I saw this pin, I just about DIED because it sums up Daniel's (and, erm, Dimitri's) character so perfectly:


Waaaaah!!! And empresses don't marry ex-cons!! Boohoohoohoo...

*cough, cough*

Sorry for the meltdown. I just thought fans of the series might appreciate that image like I did. ;)

Speaking of Daniel, stay tuned NEXT WEEK for an extra scene from A Darkness Strange & Lovely. It's from Mr. Sheridan's POV (ooh la la!).

For the Daydreamers:
Writing Mission Statements

Something I only recently got around to doing was to make my 5 Year Plan. In publishing, it's so easy to set this goal of "I want to get published" and then never set another goal after that.

Also, because traditional publishing is so very much out of our control, I think that writers/authors tend to even forget the idea of making long-term plans. We can say we want to be published in 5 years, but that's not really something we can make happen on our own.

But without a plan and without goals, how can we define our success?

I spent so long thinking that I was a failure because my success was not on par with my friends or other authors in my genre niche, and it took me WAY too long to realize that their success ≠ MY success. But since I hadn't defined what I wanted from my career, I couldn't even gauge whether or not I was where I wanted to be.

Yet as I made my 5 Year Plan and as I crafted various actionable creative and financial goals, I realized that I had essentially distilled who I was and what I wanted out of my career as a writer.

So I took the core ideas--the heart of each goal--and turned them into my overall career mission statement. Here's what I wrote:

I want to write stories that make me feel deeply and that spark my gut as well as my imagination. I want my writing to reach a large number of my “ideal readers,” and I want to offer them entertainment that makes them feel as deeply as I did while writing. I want to constantly improve my storytelling skills. I want to give back to aspiring authors and to become a leader in the online writing community.
Um, my mind was BLOWN once I saw this because based on these goals, I've actually had GREAT success! I mean, I've definitely written stories that sparked my imagination and made me feel. I've definitely reached ideal readers*, and I'm always trying to reach more. I still read loads of books on writing craft, attend conventions and workshops, and work intensely with fellow authors to improve my writing. Plus, with things like this newsletter, my blog, the forum, and the EFD workshop, I feel like I'm definitely giving back to other writers--and I'm always seeking new ways to give more. :)

So, huh. It turned out that I wasn't nearly the failure I'd been thinking. Instead, I had been doing exactly what I wanted, yet I still had plenty of room to grow--to reach more readers, to write more stories, and to push my craft to the next level.

And with a mission statement like this, traditional publishing isn't even IN THE PICTURE. That whole industry, which I cannot control at all, doesn't enter into the equation, and as such, it can't dictate my success. Traditional publishing (just like self-publishing or blogging or serialized fiction on Tumblr) is simply a tool to help me reach my goals.

So, fellow writers, I urge you to make a mission statement--whether you're brand new to writing or a long published pro. It's amazing how much creating a personal barometer for success can transform how you view your career.

*Ideal readers = readers who are going to stick around because they like your writing. Not everyone will connect to your style of storytelling, your way of crafting plot and characters, or your quirky sense of you-ness. And that's fine! You're not writing for everyone; you're just writing for those ideal readers who "get" you. Whenever I'm stuck, I look at a post-it on my computer screen that says: What would your ideal reader want? This always helps get me back on track. :)
Now, to wrap up the week, here are the best writing-related links I discovered in the past week:
See you next week, my friends! And don't forget: if you have any questions about ANYTHING, drop by the forum to ask. Thanks for reading!

photo by Emily Rae Photography

Copyright © 2014
Susan Dennard
All rights reserved.

110 West 40th St., Suite 410
New York, NY 10018

I'm a misfit, a daydreamer, an animal-lover, and a (now gluten-free) cookie-eater.